ITU Telecom World 2017: exploring smart digital transformation

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ITU 2017

(ITU, 2017)

Artificial intelligence can crunch the numbers on inconceivably large volumes of data, predicting trends, mitigating problems, driving a revolution in socio-economic development. Smart machines can learn, understand, develop and, in many areas, out-perform humans. But what will be the impact on our jobs, our economies and our societies? Do we need an international code of AI ethics now, before it is too late?

Digital financial services over mobile broadband can bring the millions of unbanked into the modern economy, using ICT to reshape transactions, processes and consumer behaviour.  Connected cars offer a vision of automated vehicles, enhanced road safety, environmental protection and smart urban planning. But where are the guarantees on security and privacy, who’s paying for all this innovation, and is it really possible for regulatory authorities from sectors as diverse as finance, transport and telecoms to work together?

The Internet of Things promises to connect billions of sensors and devices to each other, to humans and to the internet, enabling unprecedented growth, sustainability and innovation across verticals such as manufacturing, health, media, logistics, and electricity. Combined with the exponential increases in bandwidth, speed, reliability and flexibility offered by 5G and software defined networks, smart technologies are creating the critical infrastructure of the future. But where are the international standards and harmonized spectrum essential for global interoperability and seamless connectivity? Are regulatory and government policies ready to exploit the potential of smart technologies whilst protecting consumers, providing for fair competition and keeping control of cybersecurity?

These questions are at the heart of ITU Telecom World 2017, the leading tech event for governments, large businesses and SMEs, organized each year by ITU, the UN’s key agency for ICT matters. This year’s event will be held in Busan, Republic of Korea, from 25 – 28 September, 2017, on the theme of smart digital transformation, its impact and opportunities.

Given its status as pioneering smart city, test bed for the deployment of IoT solutions across the urban environment in one of the most technologically-advanced nations on earth, Busan is an ideal venue to explore smart.  And given ITU’s key role in allocating spectrum and establishing international consensus on industry standards, as well as supporting the critical role of ICTs and smart technologies in meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the event is certain to provide expert analysis – and even some answers.

ITU’s authority and expertise enable it to convene a unique – and uniquely powerful – global audience. Heads of state and government will come together with ministers, regulators, leading industry CEOs from major players and SMEs, organizations, associations and consultants. As a UN event, it delivers a truly international perspective on smart digital transformation from emerging and developed markets from all around the world.

International expertise on policy, technology and business strategy in an increasingly smart world will be evident throughout all aspects of ITU Telecom World 2017, which features an exhibition of digital solutions, a forum for sharing knowledge, an Awards Programme recognising the best in ICT innovation with social impact, and a networking hub for nations, organizations and individuals.

A key presence in the exhibition will be KT, Korea’s leading operator, showcasing amongst other advancements its world-beating deployment of 5G, which it aims to pilot as a commercial service at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, a few short months after ITU Telecom World. KT will be joined by exhibitors from countries, organizations, big industry players and SMEs from around the world with innovative digital projects and demos, technologies, projects and partnership opportunities. Industry Stands, SME Pods, National and Thematic Pavilions provide global visibility, networking and business development opportunities for developed and developing markets like no other tech event.

ITU Telecom World 2017 this year brings together the best of ITU in three major pavilions from its sectors. ITU-T, home of standardization, will focus on Smart ABC, highlighting three key emerging smart industries, the connections and interplay between them and the tremendous potential they represent: smart AI, smart banking and smart cities. City mayors from across the globe will exchange knowledge, network and debate on smart solutions.  ITU-R will showcase 5G solutions, satellite communication applications and future broadcasting options; and ITU-D will demonstrate the importance of ICTs in meeting the SDGs – and in driving global socio-economic development.

In-house experts join international figures from industry, government and technology in the Leadership Summit and the Forum, an exciting world-class programme of interactive debate on smart digital transformation. Leading speakers from public and private sectors, consultants and digital thinkers will explore topics such as collaborative regulation, connected cars, smart sustainable cities, Industry 4.0, digital skills, security in the age of smart technologies and the ethics of AI.

Whether sharing ideas, best practice and case studies in the forum or meeting new leads, making contacts and discovering new solutions in the exhibition, ITU Telecom World is all about networking. Making the right connections is essential for success in business and partnerships – and perhaps never more so than now, in an era of transformation, convergence and cross-sector collaboration. A programme of specially-designed networking events, spaces and online tools put participants in touch with the right people from across the industry and the world, from the high-profile Opening Ceremony and high-level LeaderSpace to coffee breaks, networking lunches and dinners and the ever-popular event app.

Leveraging the unique international platform and networking opportunities that the event provides, the ITU Telecom World Awards recognize the most promising innovative ICT-based initiatives with real social impact. The Awards are open to all exhibiting and sponsoring participants, as well as to any SMEs entering with an application fee, which includes a free Exhibition Pass and access to the full SME Programme of workshops, capacity building sessions, pitching and targeted networking events. Presented by ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao in a high-profile onsite ceremony, the Awards are for a number of categories, including the Global SME Awards for the most promising and innovative solutions from small and medium enterprises; the Corporate Awards for the best solutions from larger organizations working in areas such as smart emerging technologies, e education or e health; and the Government Award for the National Pavilion organizer bringing high numbers of excellent, innovative SMEs to the event.

ITU Telecom World 2017’s combination of audience, activities and expertise offers a compelling opportunity to explore smart digital transformation – and perhaps find answers to some of those key questions.

Visit telecomworld.itu.int to find out more ITU Telecom World 2017 and how to take part in Busan this September.

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